When Nintendo began discussing the possibility of creating films sometime in the future, a lot of people were on the fence. After all, the 1993 film Super Mario Bros. ended up being a total failure in the box office (though it is now considered a cult classic). However, it is important to note that Nintendo is not suggesting a new live-action feature, but rather an animated Super Mario movie. Plus, they will not be involved directly in production this time – instead, they will delegate it to an experienced animation studio called Illumination.
Illumination is behind some of the most popular recently-released films, such as Sing and Minions. Plus, they employ talent that has worked on some other famous projects. For example, the CEO of the studio – Chris Meledandri – has worked on Ice Age and for several other animation companies. But why did Nintendo choose Illumination to work on the proposed Super Mario movie rather than Pixar or DreamWorks?
Well, according to comments by Nintendo’s co-representative director Shigeru Miyamoto at an investor’s meeting, there is solid reasoning behind choosing Illumination over any other studio. First off, Nintendo and Illumination have already been collaborating on theme park attractions – notably, the proposed Super Mario World section of Universal Studios in Japan. This makes it quite a bit easier to establish a new contract regarding an animated film.
Though the companies have achieved a lot business-wise while working together, this is not the sole driving force behind choosing Illumination to create the film. When Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri actually met up with one another to discuss the possibilities of a Super Mario film franchise, they quickly found that they had a lot in common personally as well. This is a boon to business relations – that is, being friends with your business partner – and will also ensure that communication between Nintendo and the studio is always top-notch.
So far, there aren’t any ideas that are set in stone for a Super Mario movie. This is partially due to Meledandri’s tendency to be cost- and time-conscious when creating a film. However, Miyamoto and him have been meeting frequently to attempt to “hash out the screenplay” and create a successful franchise. Once they do figure out exactly where they want to go with the film, Miyamoto will make an official announcement.
Thus, it is not quite certain when (or even if) the Super Mario animated film will come to light. Should they reach a creative dead-end they will simply quit, according to Miyamoto. However, if the Super Mario film is launched, it has the potential to greatly expand the Mario franchise and may even lead to more films, comic books, toys, and even games. As long as the plot isn’t as far-fetched as the 1993 version, an Illumination-created, Nintendo-backed animated Mario movie could be quite successful.
Of course, only time will tell whether this proposed film will be completed. Though the talks between Miyamoto and Meledandri are quite promising – and frequent – this film may not be released for quite some time still. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see the two take the film so seriously. It is already shaping up to be a vast improvement over Nintendo’s last entry into the genre 25 years ago.